SAN FRANCISCO — At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple announced updates to its mobile operating system (iOS), its desktop platform (OS X), and its cloud storage offering (iCloud), all of them aimed at getting app developers to continue programming and churning out new apps for Apple devices.
What will be most interesting to Apple device owners, in the meantime: how all of those new updates will work together.
Apple has historically worked hard to create a unified ecosystem of products (while at the same time encouraging developers to write for its systems — hence its big developers conferences). On Monday, Apple pushed even further on unification. What will likely be its most visible update is a collection of projects called “Continuity.”
The Continuity features will let i-device owners move files between their devices (including Windows devices), and will also let them manage all their communications on whatever device is most convenient to them or best suited to the task. In short: If your iPhone rings, you’ll be able to answer the call on your Mac. Or if you start composing an email on your iPad and then want to move over to a desktop Mac where it’s easier to type, you’ll be able to grab your work in progress from your iPad and keep going.
Apple SVP Craig Federighi shows text messages appearing on multiple devices. (Getty Images)
Apple is updating its mobile operating system, iOS 8. It gets interesting and often-requested features. You will now be able to install keyboards made by other developers (see: SwiftKey). To compete, Apple is also improving its own keyboard with a much more impressive word prediction system based on the words you type and the context of what you are typing. In other words, if you use slang when messaging with one person and a more formal tone with another, the keyboard will predict appropriate words for each, depending on the recipient.
iMessage gets other key improvements, including a quick way to send audio notes and the addition of self-destructing messages (see: SnapChat). You’ll also get better control over group messages. And you’ll be able to send your location to people you’re messaging with (a vast improvement over the standalone Find My Friends app).